When it comes to celebrities being heavily courted for the small screen, one would be forgiven if Grammy Award-winning country singer Tim McGraw isn’t the first name that comes to mind. But he is indeed a sought-after commodity, and he is currently set to head the in-development TNT crime drama Robbers, based on the grittily enjoyable debut novel from author Christopher Cook. We’re glad that this isn’t a serialization of his hit song “Indian Outlaw.”
Published in 2000, Robbers tells the pulpy noir story of two drifters, Eddie and Ray Bob, who go on a wide-scale crime spree across Texas and are being hunted down by a Texas Ranger. Eddie is a bit of a sociopath and falls in love with a woman named Della, who inspires him to change his lifestyle. Ray Bob, a killer blues musician, isn’t too happy with Eddie’s rehabbing, and prefers their life on the road.
According to Deadline, McGraw is set to take on the role of Ray Bob, and he’s described as the “worst of the worst,” which will be an interesting fork in the singer’s career path. He’s starred in such films as Friday Night Lights, The Blind Side and Country Strong, with none of those roles giving him the chance to show off an affliction for malicious evil.
Robbers has been compared to the works of Elmore Leonard, so it makes perfect sense that the project is being co-written by Cook and former Justified executive producer and director Michael Dinner, who also penned an episode of the Leonard-adapted series. Dinner is also set to direct this adaptation, which follows work on such series as The Mob Doctor, Masters of Sex and Sons of Anarchy. Justified production company Timberman/Beverly – run by Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly – is behind the drama as well. The world could always use more shows that are comparable to Justified, so I’d be on board for this series no matter who was making it.
TNT was apparently in the middle of a network competition to nab Robbers, which goes right along with their attempt to bring McGraw to the network in the past. They tried getting him involved with their hit action thriller The Last Ship last year, and he was also a top choice for Fox’s 2014 pilot Wild Blue, which Dinner directed and executive produced.
Should it go forward, this would be McGraw’s first scripted TV role since an appearance on The Jeff Foxworthy Show in 1997. He has of course been a talk show mainstay for many years, and hosted Saturday Night Live in 2008. We’ll next get to see him on the big screen for Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland later this month.
There’s no timeframe for Robbers’ development track, but Tim McGraw’s inclusion pushed this project to the fast lane, so we’ll presumably be hearing more about it soon.